Writing things off… until tomorrow

Does the thought of having to write an article for your weekly newsletter make you cringe? Do you turn a sickly green when it’s time to write an advice article for a media outlet? Would you rather tidy your office than write a letter to a client or a briefing on a new product or service?

A lot of people find writing extended pieces of prose painful and are inclined to add these type of tasks to the ‘When I get around to it’ or ‘Things to do tomorrow’ pile. This sort of behaviour is actually a not-so-cleverly disguised form of procrastination, and you know it!

What holds a lot of people back from having some alone time with their computer or notebook is all of the added chores the process entails, like having to do additional research, cite sources and find images – all while maintaining a professional, friendly, serious or light-hearted tone. In short, a lot of work is involved, which makes the thought of putting it off until tomorrow all the more appealing.

However, unless the Apocalypse happens, tomorrow is going to dawn and that dreaded writing task is still going to be there. So, how about biting the bullet and tackling it today? It’s a lot less frightening when you break it down into manageable parts, we promise! Here’s what you do.

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1. List the main points

An extended piece of writing works best for your readers if you break it up using headlines. This makes it easier for them to pick out the key points and it’s a lot more inviting than a huge block of text. If you’ve gone to all the effort of writing something, you want people to read it! Start by listing all of the main points you want to make in the correct order.

Don’t worry about adding the information you want to include in, yet. Baby steps!

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2. Lay out the paragraphs

Now that you’ve got a framework to work with, you can start to add in some of the details. Under each of your key points, sketch out a paragraph that explains the point and another that outlines the benefits. You don’t have to include all of the details – 2 sentences for each paragraph should do the trick! So far, your page should look like this:

Heading

[unordered_list style=”circle” number_type=”circle_number” animate=”no” font_weight=”bold”]

  • 2 sentences that explain the point
  • 2 sentences that outline the benefits

[/unordered_list]

Heading

[unordered_list style=”circle” number_type=”circle_number” animate=”no” font_weight=”bold”]

  • 2 sentences that explain the point
  • 2 sentences that outline the benefits

[/unordered_list]
And so forth until all of your points have been covered.

Now that you’ve broken your writing task down into manageable pieces, going back and filling in all of the juicy details should be a piece of cake!

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3. Format it

Once you’ve finished imparting all the knowledge that the writing task demands, go back through it and use plenty of formatting – headers, italic or bold text, bullet points – to break up all that text. Make sure that your paragraphs have a maximum of four sentences in them – otherwise they are less likely to be read. Finally, proof-read and re-read your article to avoid discrediting your great advice.

So, is that your computer or notebook we hear calling?

What writing tasks do you have in your ‘tomorrow’ pile?


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